Kevin Richardson cuddles lion cubs

Kevin Richardson is an animal behaviorist and conservationist who works in South Africa. He’s also called “The Lion Whisperer” because of his remarkable ability to bond with wild lions, and the fact that he’s never been seriously injured. He does have a rapport with those cats, one honed from a lifetime of experience (he’s 42). But, as Wikipedia notes, “As a rule, Richardson only interacts with lions he has been with since their birth.” That helps!

I’ve put up posts of his videos before (see here), but here’s a particularly nice one in which a mother lion lets him handle her cubs: the ultimate sign of trust.  And OMG, when he cuddles those very young lions, well, it makes me think I’m in the wrong job. If I could do this just once, I could die a happy man!

Get a load of this:


  1. Posted March 7, 2017 at 3:08 pm | Permalink

    Whose cutting onions in here??

    • Claudia Baker
      Posted March 7, 2017 at 3:21 pm | Permalink

      Me. ‘sob

      Gotta go pet my little lyon now, who is snoozing on the couch.

  2. Randy schenck
    Posted March 7, 2017 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

    What an experience. Bumper shoves me around and Emma sits in the lap. That’s as close as I get.

  3. Taskin
    Posted March 7, 2017 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Wow! That’s wonderful 🙂

  4. alexandra Moffat
    Posted March 7, 2017 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

    How vey endearing.

    There are farms in So Africa (and other countries) that raise lion to be hunted as adults by the rich who like to pay vast sums of money to kill them . Am not accusing this place or man who seems to genuinely love them – but wondering what the future is for these adorable cubs. And hoping that the trophy hunting can be stopped or limited. Awful to think that hunting may be the only way for endangered lion to be preserved.

    Thank you

    • Posted March 7, 2017 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

      I’m almost certain that Richardson does not work for an outfit that raises lions to be killed. I think they’re released in some big reserve.

      • Rasmo carenna
        Posted March 8, 2017 at 4:50 am | Permalink

        In fact, he himself discusses and criticizes that problem in this video (starting at around 27:52)

        Posted March 8, 2017 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

        I can tell everyone with certainly that Kevin DOES NOT work for such. He has aquired most of the Lions he’s had over the years by rescuing them from those such real places among other rescue operations. His message IS NOT aimed towards, “see, Lions can be pets” it’s strictly to raise awareness for their plight. Those lions are getting the best life possible outside of being a natural wild Lion considering where they came from and what certainly would have happened to them had he not aquired them.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted March 8, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

      Doing my usual practice of catching up by working back from the most recent post. Did the news of the rhino being poached and chain-sawed for its horn IN A FRENCH ZOO make the cut here?

  5. aljones909
    Posted March 7, 2017 at 4:17 pm | Permalink

    Radical theory. Lions interact with humans in a way that’s more d*g than cat.

    • Posted March 7, 2017 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

      I can see that.

      One thing I notice with these cats is that they are fond of using their mouths to “love-bite”, to interact playfully with their human companion. Dogs do this all the time too, and I have found that one of the quickest ways to build a bond with a dog, even a strange one, is to be very open and gentle about this type of contact.

      Of course, one always needs to assess the whole situation, but the “love-bite” seems a quick way to build trust between species.

      • jt512
        Posted March 7, 2017 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

        Did you just say you bite your dog?

  6. madscientist
    Posted March 7, 2017 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    Uncanny ability to bond and never been injured generally change at some point. Every few years another grizzly whisperer becomes a grizzly snack. It’s all a matter of how long particular wild animals put up with humans being close.

    • darrelle
      Posted March 8, 2017 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      And how much the human may be fooling themselves about the relationship. Plenty of people have had long, close relationships with wild animals and not been maimed or killed by them. The couple of grizzly whisperers who got eaten that I am familiar with seemed to be delusional to me.

  7. rickflick
    Posted March 7, 2017 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    I always feel a bit nervous watching this kind of thing. Animals can be unpredictable and skittish at times. I sure hope the lioness doesn’t wake up one morning on the wrong side of the hay bale, and decide sever the friendship with a claw. I remember the couple who made films about getting close to lions(1970s?) – I think one of them was killed by a poacher and the other killed by a lion.

  8. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted March 7, 2017 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I really like this guy. One thing that cracked me up here is near the end he plays the ‘paw on top’ game with the lioness, where his hand is on her paw, and she puts her paw on top of his hand, and so on. I do the exact same game with my d*g.

    • darrelle
      Posted March 8, 2017 at 7:15 am | Permalink

      Domestic cats do something like this too. I’m pretty sure that in the case of domestic cats it isn’t really a game so much as the cat’s preference for being in control. They put their paw on your hand so that they can control it. If you move without permission the claws are likely to come out, gently at first, more firmly if you don’t respond appropriately.

  9. Melissa
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 5:06 am | Permalink

    I love it when he kisses the little cub at about 1’17” (I kiss my cats all the time, a relex–)

  10. Posted March 8, 2017 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    I LOVE those videos. And yes, I know there are plenty of ‘experts’ who say that you shouldn’t DO that (play with wild animals).
    But it’s too cute to resist.
    But is it smart?

    Here’s the issue I have with it .. and it’s one of ‘scale’.
    I have two cats, and the youngest is my favorite. We got her as a kitten. She’s small: had some health issues as a kitten and will never be a ‘big’ cat. Her name is Zena, but she’s more often referred to as “you little SHIT” .. because that’s what she is.
    She’s an extremely ‘cuddly’ cat, sleeps with me, snuggles up close with me, follows me everywhere, demands CONSTANT petting, etc. And I can basically do with her what I want, she’s the easiest cat I’ve ever had.
    And the cutest.

    BUT .. every once in a while, when we’re cuddling, and she’s purring, she suddenly (what my wife and I call) ‘switches’ on me: she starts licking my hand (ahw, how cute) and then suddenly the ears go back, her sharp nails grab my hand, she bites me (firmly!) and tries to shred my arm with her back paws. I can now make her stop by loudly yelling “NO NO” to her; that calms her down. And 10 seconds later I have to pet her again.
    Quite often, however, she draws blood.
    This is NOT a wild animal.

    Now .. if you’re cuddling like that with a lion, and the lion (or tiger) suddenly gets into one of those moods, you lose an arm! Or worse.
    So, yeah, I would have to think twice about that …

  11. Mike
    Posted March 8, 2017 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I’m always leery about this kind of thing, big Cats are dangerous and he may do that once too often.

%d bloggers like this: